In what is perhaps my most visible detachment from Canada, the Great Hockey Pool (the GHP) is defunct again this year, for perhaps the 3rd or 4th year in a row.
Since the big strike, the TV coverage in the US has been relegated to a backwater channel called Versa. I don't receive it. It is painful.
Back home, there are probably 3 games on TV in a given night right now, in the first round. The national news is pre-empted for the coverage. The (awesome) theme song to Hockey Night in Canada is like the ringing of the church bells, inviting fans to come celebrate.
(Ed's Note: I just spent 20 minutes on YouTube watching old HNiC videos looking for the perfect theme song. Wow. The memories flood back. Emotion.)
At least there is some action: like last year, I visited Vegas and have some tickets for the Cup winner. I bought 3 separate bets. 2 teams are in the running; one didn't make the playoffs. (No, not StL though they fit the description).
Stay tuned... we'll see how it goes.
ps. It is somewhat embarrassing that half the audience will know this factoid and the other half may not care much. Hockey Night in Canada is the world's oldest TV sports program that is still running, and it dates much further back to radio. Monday Night Football is a tradition down here, but it is a young whipper-snapper compared to HNiC.
pps. All is not lost down here in the south. There is baseball! It isn't playoff hockey but the start of the season is a sure sign of spring. Here is a post on the other blog that was actually referenced by a columnist for the local newspaper.